Cardinals 4, Dodgers 3: Wasted opportunities sink Dodgers in 16

The Dodgers lost a frustrating and grueling 16-inning marathon to the Cardinals on Friday night in St. Louis. Matt Adams crushed a Bud Norris fastball to give the Red Birds the walk-off win in the most painful fashion.

Missed opportunities were aplenty throughout the long night as the Dodgers left 13 men on base and went 1-for-13 with RISP. Despite the inability of the Dodger offense to seal the deal multiple times throughout the game, Brandon McCarthy pitched very well and the bullpen (sans the bad pitches by Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the ninth and Norris in the 16th) were able to keep the St. Louis bats in check for a majority of the night.

Even though he suffered a leg cramp in the seventh inning, McCarthy continued his successful comeback campaign on a hot night in St. Louis. It was his longest outing thus far, 6 1/3 innings. He only allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit with four strikeouts and three walks on 85 pitches (59 strikes).

The Dodgers jumped ahead early against Michael Wacha thanks to a Chase Utley leadoff double and a Corey Seager RBI single in the top of the first, silencing the crimson clad crowd.

They wasted a scoring opportunity in the third after Seager and Justin Turner hit consecutive singles. Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick followed with consecutive strikeouts to strand the runners at the corners.

McCarthy was cruising until the bottom half of the third when the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead. Two walks plus a bobbling error by Joc Pederson while fielding Aledmys Diaz‘s single allowed the Red Birds to cash in the second run.

The Dodgers wasted yet another opportunity in the fourth. Are you sensing a pattern here? Yasmani Grandal and Scott Van Slyke both singled, but Grandal ran into a force out at third base. It was close, but Yadier Molina made a heads up play to nab his fellow backstop on a bunt attempt by McCarthy for the second out. Utley subsequently grounded out softly to end the frame.

Howie Kendrick, left fielder, tied up the game at two apiece with one swing in the sixth. His opposite field solo home run vs. Wacha also extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

After the Kendrick dinger Grandal singled and Van Slyke hit a ground-rule double, but they unfortunately stranded another two runners. Then they — you guessed it — stranded two more runners in the seventh as well.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, a trainer went out to check on McCarthy’s right leg. Where’s the pickle juice and hot mustard when you need it? The Dodgers wisely played it safe and took him out of the game.

With Adam Liberatore on the mound, there was a strange play that allowed the Cards to load the bases up with two outs. Randal Grichuk beat out Gonzalez at first for an infield single after Utley didn’t go to the second base bag and threw wide to first. Somehow Utley missed getting the out, twice. Dave Roberts challenged the play at first, but it was upheld. Thankfully, Liberatore induced a weak groundout to third from Greg Garcia to exit the inning unscathed.

The Dodgers stranded their 11th man, Andrew Toles, in the eighth.

Pederson had a rough night at the plate and made a costly error earlier in the game, but he saved Joe Blanton‘s bacon in the bottom half of the eighth with a spectacular catch in center field to rob Tommy Pham of extra bases.

The 2-2 tie was finally broken in the ninth on a go-ahead solo home run by Turner off Seung Hwan Oh, his 18th of the year and 12th in his last 29 games.

Then with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Kenley Jansen served up a home run to Jedd Gyorko to tie up the game yet again. Sigh. That’s Kenley’s fifth blown save of the season.

Grant Dayton made his MLB debut in the bottom of the 11th. At Busch Stadium. Against the Cardinals. No pressure or anything. He retired Matt Holliday, Matt Adams and Molina in order, and he returned in the 12th to pitch a second scoreless frame.

Neither team managed to get an extra-inning base hit until Molina’s one out single in the 14th off J.P. Howell. Austin Barnes doubled (challenge upheld) in the 15th, but he became the 13th man left on base for the Dodgers.

Bud Norris became the Dodgers ninth pitcher of the night in the home half of the 15th. Of course Garcia blooped a double on the next pitch after Norris seemingly struck him out but didn’t get the call, but he got out of that one. However, the nail in the coffin came in the 16th inning when Adams smashed the walk-off blast off Norris.

Emergen-C: Seager is feeling much better after missing the entire series in D.C. with the stomach flu. He went 4-for-7 with four singles.

The Dodgers drop to 54-44 on the season and are now 24-26 on the road. They also wasted an opportunity to pick up a game on the Giants who lost their sixth consecutive game earlier in the night, and they remain four games back in the NL West.

The Dodgers will try to even up the series on Saturday when Kenta Maeda (8-7, 3.25 ERA, 3.43 FIP) faces Mike Leake (7-7, 4.00 ERA, 3.87 FIP). First pitch is at 4:15 PM PT.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.